Australia taps Lockheed Martin for $500M next-gen air missile defence deal

Head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division, Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul and Chief Executive LMANZ Warren McDonald sign a $500M strategic partnership contract to build Australia’s Joint Air Battle Management System under project - AIR6500 Phase 1. Image credit: Lockheed Martin Australia

The Australian Government announced an investment of $500 million in next-generation air missile defence technology to strengthen national security and fortify the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The contract, awarded to Lockheed Martin Australia, is expected to create at least 230 job opportunities and additional roles during its construction phase, the government revealed in a media release.

The initiative, dubbed AIR6500, is poised to revolutionise Australia’s air and missile defence system by implementing cutting-edge command-and-control architecture.

This advancement aims to heighten situational awareness of advanced aerial and missile threats while fostering greater interoperability with international allies.

Integral to the project are four state-of-the-art air-defence radars, to be manufactured by Canberra-based CEA Technologies, with deliveries slated to commence this year.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating, “This $500 million contract continues the work by the Albanese Government on next-generation air missile defence.”

He emphasised the government’s dedication to both national security and the growth of Australia’s defence industry.

Highlighting the collaborative nature of the initiative, Conroy affirmed, “The Albanese Government is actively creating opportunities for Australian industry, through the entire supply chain of small-and-medium enterprises, as we deliver these critical defence capabilities.”

“This is an investment in our national security but also an investment in a future made in Australia which will support local businesses and create hundreds of jobs and support many more,” he concluded.

This deal builds upon Lockheed Martin Australia’s prior efforts, which encompassed the development of preliminary systems essential for establishing the Joint Air Battle Management System within the country.

In executing this initiative, Lockheed Martin Australia will collaborate with various entities, such as Boeing Defence Australia, C4i, Leidos Australia, Lucid Consulting Australia, Raytheon Australia, Shoal Group, and Silentium Defence.